A Heads Up on Car Insurance Costs

The way that your insurance carrier calculates your monthly premium might seem like a mystery, and it certainly is complex. Your personal driving history always has an impact, the car you drive can itself weighs heavily on the insurer’s premium costs, which many drivers may not realize. Sometimes choosing a vehicle in an expensive  insurance category will exponentially increase what you must pay to keep the car insured, and this adds up drastically over the years that you own your vehicle. If you have one in an expensive group, you can still control your driving record and other factors, but you can’t change the category number.

Assigning Groups

Any vehicle that is sold in the UK is assigned to an insurance rating. The decision regarding which group a vehicle is assigned to is made by the Group Rating Panel. This panel consists of representatives from a variety of organisations, which includes members of the Association of British Insurers. This panel uses a number of different factors to determine which group a car will be assigned to, and ultimately gives it a number between 1 and 50. Generally speaking, those with a lower number cost less to insure and higher numbers translate to a more expensive insurance rate. It’s worth noting that these groups are merely an advisory tool and your insurer will ultimate decide what to charge you.


Among the chief factors assessed when deciding which group a car will belong to is the safety rating of the vehicle. Things like a security system, air bags, and a visible VIN all make the car cheaper to insure because they lower the likelihood of theft or serious injury. If your car doesn’t come standard with these features, you are more likely to find yourself in an expensive group. Even if you install additional features, your car will still be assigned to the same group.


Another thing the Group Rating Panel considers is how easy it is to repair your vehicle in the event of an  accident or when the car is vandalized. If the parts required to fix your car are more expensive and difficult to order than most other cars, you may be put into a higher group. Similarly, if the car you purchase has been shown to be in more accidents or tends to suffer a lot of damage in any accident, you may be considered more risky to insure.

Car Capabilities

The Group Rating Panel will also look at certain features of your car. If you want a car that can increase in speed very fast because you have a penchant for speeding on the motorway, be aware that sports cars tend to be put in a high group number. Any car that can reach quick speeds in just a few seconds is deemed to be far more risky and likely to be involved in major collisions. On the other hand, conservative cars that are designed for families and aren’t made to jet around in may allow you to see a lower monthly insurance premium.

Finding Out Your Group Number

If keeping your insurance premiums low is a big concern, you might want to factor in the group number of a particular car before you purchase it. Consumer information sites, like Parkers, will let you search for the group number of a particular vehicle. You can also look at all of the cars that are currently assigned to a particular group, so you can create a list of vehicles that are likely to have a lower premium. While this won’t let you know exactly what the insurance premium will be, it can help you make a more informed decision in your car purchase.  

Car insurance groups are a big factor when it comes to how your insurer determines what it charges you to provide coverage. However, keep in mind that the group number is not the only factor, and strive to keep a good driving record so that you remain an attractive prospect to be insured. Choose a car that has a high safety rating and relatively easy repairs, and you can save yourself some serious money in the long run.

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